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Block Inc logo is seen displayed in this illustration taken, April 10, 2023. 

Dado Ruvic | Reuters

Block reported first-quarter earnings after the bell that exceeded analysts’ estimates. The stock rose about 10% in extended trading.

Here’s how the company did, compared to analysts’ consensus from LSEG.

  • Earnings per share: 85 cents adjusted vs. 72 cents adjusted that was expected
  • Revenue: $5.97 billion vs. $5.82 billion expected

Block posted $2.09 billion in gross profit, up 22% from a year ago. Analysts tend to focus on gross profit as a more accurate measurement of the company’s core transactional businesses.

The company reported net income of $472 million, or 74 cents per share, more than quadruple the net income of $98.3 million, or 16 cent per share, a year earlier.

The company raised its adjusted EBITDA forecast for the second quarter to $690 million from $670 million.

Block, formerly known as Square, ended the year with 57 million monthly transacting actives for Cash App in March, up 6% year-over-year. Inflows per transacting active were $1,255, up 11% year over year.

The Cash App business, which is the company’s popular mobile payment platform, reported $1.26 billion in gross profit, a 25% year-over-year jump. Block, run by Twitter co-founder Jack Dorsey, said its Cash App Card monthly active users increased to 24 million in March.

Block is also more focused on integrating Afterpay, the buy-now, pay-later company it bought for $29 billion in 2021. Afterpay struggled following the deal, posting big losses.

Block has slimmed down operations in recent months. In January, Dorsey reportedly said in a note to staffers that the company had laid off a “large number” of workers. This followed another round of layoffs in December.

Chief financial officer Amrita Ahuja said in a call with CNBC that the company is raising its outlook for the year to reflect its strong performance in the first quarter.

Dorsey’s note to shareholders began by directly addressing a question that he often fields: “Why the hell are you all spending so much time on bitcoin?”

“Less than 3% of company resources are dedicated to bitcoin-related projects,” Dorsey wrote. “But why spend time on bitcoin at all? We believe the world needs an open protocol for money, one that’s not owned or controlled by any single entity.”

Bitcoin, said bitcoin will ultimately help Block “serve more people around the world faster.” He added that going forward, Block will be investing 10% of its gross profit from bitcoin products into purchases of bitcoin for investment.

“We were one of the first public companies to put bitcoin on our balance sheet,” he wrote.

The $220 million the company invested into bitcoin has grown 160% to $573 million as of the end of the first quarter, according to Dorsey.

Federal probe into Block

Cash App remains a significant contributor to overall profitability at the company.

The Block CFO told CNBC that the fintech firm has seen “continued resilience of spend” with not only growth in actives, but also growth in spend per monthly active user on a year-over-year and quarter-over-quarter basis.

“Which shows us again, continued resilience of this customer base and strong engagement with our product,” said Ahuja.

Shares in Block dropped 8% percent on Wednesday after an NBC investigation claimed that U.S. prosecutors were probing the company’s compliance practices based on information leaked to them by a former employee of the company.

“Most of the transactions discussed with prosecutors, involving credit card transactions, dollar transfers and bitcoin, were not reported to the government as required,” the NBC story alleged.

The whistleblower reportedly gave the government materials showing breaches in know-your-customer and anti-money laundering rules, as well as evidence indicating that management ignored these lapses.

Unlike past reports of possible wrongdoing at the company, the latest allegations encompass both Cash App and the company’s Square point-of-sale technology. It also includes within its scope international payments, sanctioned nations, and breaches of the Office of Foreign Assets Control. In September, Alyssa Henry stepped down as Square CEO. Dorsey stepped in to fill the role and no successor has been announced.

A separate report in February published by the same NBC reporter found that two whistleblowers had gone to the U.S. Treasury’s Financial Crimes Enforcement Network, or FinCEN, to share similar allegations. The popular payment app “had no effective procedure” to establish the identity of its customers, two whistleblowers told officials, according to NBC.

Analysts for Macquarie wrote in a note on Wednesday that should the Federal probe find merit in these claims, they see greater potential for fines or behavioral remedies such as robust oversight teams and infrastructure rather than “something structural like limitations on the types of business it can do.”

Last year, short seller Hindenburg Research levied similar claims, alleging that Block allowed criminal activity to operate with lax controls and “highly” inflates Cash App’s transacting user base, a key metric of performance.

Hindenburg described Block’s internal systems as a “‘Wild West’ approach to compliance.”

— CNBC’s Michael Bloom and Kate Rooney contributed to this report.

WATCH: Block shares pop on earnings beat

Block shares pop on Q4 earnings beat

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The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]




The Invanti Tornado is the Swiss Army knife of e-bikes [Video]

Want your electric bike to have utility as well as comfort and style? Then, the Invanti Tornado, with its impressive array of optional accessories, could be your ideal ride.

Invanti is developing multi-functional e-bikes to reinvent the e-bike industry. It will launch an Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign on May 22 for its first product, the versatile Tornado e-bike series. Early backers can purchase the Tornado for a super early bird price of $1,299, significant savings vs. gas bikes.

Invanti makes it easy to protect your e-bike from theft with its “invantimobility” app. The smart version Tornado Pro has a smart front hub lock feature that, once activated, can only be unlocked using the app.

This zippy and efficient utility e-bike has a 750W rear hub motor, 1,000 peak power, and a 48V 14.7Ah battery with Samsung cells that give a top speed of up to 25 mph. The Shimano 7-speed transmission, 80 mm travel suspension, 4-piston hydraulic disc brakes, and torque sensor means riding is smooth. It also sports a pair of 20-by-3-inch puncture-resistant tires.

The Tornado provides a range of 60 miles on pedal assist and 25 miles on throttle only. You can additionally install an extra 48V, 10.4Ah battery that you take with you, giving a cumulative total of 100 miles on pedal assist and 43.5 miles on throttle only. Plus, you can use the extra battery as a portable powerbank for your phone.

What makes the Invanti Tornado stand out is the cool accessories it comes with. Your e-bike arrives with a front rack, a rear cargo rack, a rear fork storage bag with lockout, and rear wheel mudguards. It also features front and rear lights with integrated turn signals.

Plus, it offers a choice of nine upgrade accessories, which give this bike an almost modular feel. This means you can make your e-bike bespoke:

If you want to cart around passengers, you can make it happen with the Invanti Tornado’s optional rear seat pad and passenger foot rest, and there’s also a child safety handrail. Its dual-tube aluminum alloy frame can handle payloads of up to 440 pounds.

Invanti’s super early bird price on the Tornado is $1,299, and the official crowdfunding price is $1,499.

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This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings




This startup is about to install bladeless rooftop wind turbines on box buildings

Aeromine Technologies just closed a $9 million funding round, and it’s ready to scale up production of its bladeless rooftop wind turbines.

Energy research, investing, and strategy firm Veriten is the lead investor in Aeromine Technologies’ Series A funding round.

Aeromine, launched in 2022, makes compact 50 kW or larger “wind harvesting platforms” that it mounts on the edge of a building’s roof. The rooftop wind units, which have no external moving parts or blades, capture wind flowing up and over the building and convert it into onsite electricity. Its generator system is a rotor-stator system with a highly efficient 5 kW permanent magnet generator. (Specs are here.)

The noiseless technology leverages aerodynamics like airfoils on a race car to capture and amplify each building’s airflow to generate energy. Aeromine says its systems typically consist of 20-40 units installed on the edge of a building facing the predominant wind direction.

Each 1,000-pound unit can withstand winds of between 120 and 158 mph depending on specification.

Aeromine’s units can operate independently or be integrated with existing rooftop solar arrays. Onsite power generation eliminates grid supply disruptions.

Maynard Holt, founder & CEO of Veriten, said:

We believe that distributed power innovation will play a vital role in helping companies fulfill their need for reliable, reasonably priced electricity and desire for low-impact power. We’re excited to partner with Aeromine, as its ability to quickly and affordably help a wide variety of companies meet their energy needs with wind resources is unique among distributed energy solutions.

The bladeless wind turbines are designed to power apartment buildings, warehouses, manufacturing facilities, offices, hospitals, retail centers – basically any big box building with a flat, unobstructed roof.

The company says it has 400 qualified projects in its pipeline and expects to roll out commercially in Europe and North America in 2025. 

Read more: How renewables could beat natural gas in US generating capacity within 3 years – in numbers

If you live in an area that has frequent natural disaster events, and are interested in making your home more resilient to power outages, consider going solar and adding a battery storage system. To make sure you find a trusted, reliable solar installer near you that offers competitive pricing, check out EnergySage, a free service that makes it easy for you to go solar. They have hundreds of pre-vetted solar installers competing for your business, ensuring you get high quality solutions and save 20-30% compared to going it alone. Plus, it’s free to use and you won’t get sales calls until you select an installer and share your phone number with them.

Your personalized solar quotes are easy to compare online and you’ll get access to unbiased Energy Advisers to help you every step of the way. Get started here. –ad*

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Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans




Ford likely to enable all dealers to sell EVs amid shifting plans

With changes expected to Ford’s electric vehicle certification program, all Ford dealers will likely be able to sell EVs. Ford is reportedly preparing to open the program amid feedback from its dealers.

Ford poised to open dealers network to sell EVs

After asking dealers to pause EV investments this week, Ford is finalizing changes to the program. Ford already eased requirements last year due to “changes in the market.”

Ford spokesperson Marty Gunsberg confirmed that several dealers opted out of the program this past December. Gunsberg said, “Enrollments for 2024 are just over 50% of the network.” That’s down from about two-thirds confirmed by CEO Jim Farley a year prior.

According to Automotive News, after a series of meetings between dealers and executives, Ford is now preparing to allow all dealers to sell EVs.

Ford is expected to update the financial requirements needed to qualify. Previously, dealers were required to invest at least $500,000 to enroll in the program. For $1.2 million, dealers could be eligible for the “Elite” tier, which included additional chargers, demo units, and a presence on

Ford Mustang Mach E at a Tesla Supercharger (Source: Ford)

If dealers didn’t want to invest, they couldn’t sell Ford EVs. Ford’s vice president of EV programs, Lisa Drake, said the company no longer believes having select dealers sell EVs is the right plan.

More dealers want in but with less financial commitment

“What we’re finding is more dealers want to be involved in it and we don’t want to be exclusive to just a handful,” Drake said. “And so we’re making a change where we’re opening up that and not requiring as many certifications or investments for a dealer to participate in the EV revolution.”

Meanwhile, the changes will not be finalized until early June, when Ford meets with its dealer council.

2024 Ford F-150 Lightning lineup (Source: Ford)

It’s unclear how much Ford will reduce financial requirements to sell EVs, but many believe it will be drastically relaxed to promote participation.

Drake said Ford will be “more ubiquitous with our training and make sure essentially all of our dealers are equipped to sell them” going forward. Ford will need to figure out how to deal with those who have already made investments at the upcoming dealer council meeting.

Ford Mustang Mach-E GT Bronze edition (Source: Ford)

Ford slashed prices on its popular Mustang Mach-E and F-150 Lightning in recent months to boost sales.

After cutting Mach-E prices by up to $8,100 earlier this year, Ford introduced a new 0% APR offer on 2024 models this week.

2024 Mustang Mach-E trim Range Starting Price
Mustang Mach-E Select 250 mi $39,995
Mustang Mach-E Premium 320 mi $43,995
Mustang Mach-E GT 280 mi $53,995
Mustang Mach-E Rally 265 mi $59,995
2024 Mustang Mach-E price and range by trim

Ford also introduced new discounts on the 2023 F-150 Lightning this week, offering up to $15,000 off MSRP. F-150 Lightning lease prices were cut by over $400 a month.

If you’re in the market for a new EV, now’s the time to start shopping. You can use our links below to find deals on Ford’s electric vehicles at a dealer near you.

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